Let’s try something different

In the course of every week, I do a fair amount of reading.

There always seems to be an article that needs perusing, a book that is yelling to be read or an email that “demands” my attention. Additionally, I’m the type of person who likes to keep informed of the daily events around the country and we all know what that means!

I’ve always read. I was and still am the person who, when traveling or even if just waiting a few minutes, has to have some type of reading material in my hands. As a young boy on the farm, it was my duty to take the corn filled wagons to the corn crib and unload them. Because I could unload quicker than my father could fill the wagons, a book accompanied me on the tractor. Westerns were my first love (Zane Grey — can’t beat him.) and then I progressed to Cold War spy novels and I’m not going to continue the list — let’s just say, give me something different and I’ll read it.

However, it seems my reading struggles now because there are too many things to do. You know what they are — those things that fill our lives with urgency and we exhaust ourselves attempting to keep up with…?

At those moments, I have an overpowering need to read something different. For me, that reaching out for a difference is like an exercise in mindfulness because I’m forced to slow down and think. And, then I notice the corn rather than seeing the cornfield.

Very soon, we’ll be flying to New York to celebrate our youngest grandson’s first birthday. Getting that flight means making an airline reservation, etc. However, for the upcoming flight something different happened.

Our son-in-law contacted me and said he would like to treat us to the flight. My Minnesota Nice attitude kicked in and I initially said how nice that was but…that’s as far as I got in my reply to him. He got me with his statement that the trip was a gift to us. One doesn’t argue with a gift and my Minnesota Nice attitude got set aside. It will be a different way of accomplishing our anticipated trip!

As previously mentioned, I do quite a bit of reading and this wouldn’t surprise you — I read a lot about the wine industry. It’s good to keep up with the traditions of wine making and the efforts people are making to change the wines we taste. For instance…

In the last few years, I’ve gotten to really enjoy blended wines. A blended wine is one that brings together more than one type of wine in the finished product. For example, a blended wine can be made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Petit Sirah and 10% Malbec and the blending is done after each individual wine is produced. The result is something different and it’s fun to taste and try to identify each particular wine within the blend.

Recently, wine makers are pushing wine making traditions and are launching into a different type of blending wines called co-fermentation.

Remember how today’s blended wines are made from finished products and then blended? What if…?

What if the vintner first pressed different grape varietals, brought the resulting grape juices together and then fermented the blended juice? What new tastes would we discover? What aromas would we have the delight to smell? Think of the new colors of the wine!

All of this excitement because vintners are trying something different by co-fermenting grape varieties.

To better grasp this new idea, let’s think of a stew. When you make a stew, you put a lot of different veggies, herbs, spices, meats into the mix, don’t you? And then you slowly cook the mixture to bring together all the different tastes — with the hope that the end product is a heavenly blending of tastes that will go well with your new and before now, never tasted wine.

Yes, you are going to try a different wine with your stew. All of us fall into our patterns — known as habits. If your beef stew is always paired to a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, try a husky Malbec this time. Or, if you’re seeking something new and exciting, eat your stew with a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc or an acidic Riesling. Do something different!

Yes, I like to read and, as we all know, reading expands our minds. This week is National Library Week so say thanks to your local librarian, grab a new book and let it take you to new and different worlds!

Next week, respect.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!